Video: More than 10,000 flock to Leeds brewing arts centre

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Interest in an untapped Leeds landmark has been brewing for months.

And when the doors of the revamped Tetley Brewery Headquarters building opened to the public a month ago today, not even the people behind its reinvention as a contemporary art gallery had imagined it would be such a success.

Tetley cans of beer on show in a display cabinet at The Tetley.  PIC: Tony Johnson

Tetley cans of beer on show in a display cabinet at The Tetley. PIC: Tony Johnson

In four weeks more than 10,000 people have passed through The Tetley, which until last month had not been open to the public since its 1931 construction.

It is now in the midst of its popular inaugural programme, ‘A New Reality’, which unpicks the brewery’s history through contemporary art.

And following a £1.5m transformation, the future looks bright for the repurposed Hunslet hub as it prepares for the spring-time opening of a brand new green space in the old brewery grounds as well as the reopening of Hunslet Road to pedestrians.

Pippa Hale, a director of the Project Space Leeds (PSL) arts charity which runs The Tetley, said: “We’ve had a really good response. The whole first programme is all about artists working with the building’s industrial heritage and its future use as a contemporary art space as well – that’s bringing in a new reality.”

The Tetley, which was revamped through funds from Carlsberg UK, Leeds City Council and Arts Council England, hosts a ground floor cafe and bar, first floor gallery and office and educational space on upper floors.

The original Tetley boardroom has been used for dining and board meetings for the likes of Leeds and Partners in recent weeks, while its extensive collection of brewery artefacts – from 1946 victory ale to letters from Buckingham Palace – has drawn in visitors.

Kerry Harker, fellow PSL director, said The Tetley is also working with volunteer researchers and the University of Leeds to help mark Tetley Brewery’s links to the First World War as the 2014 centenary of its outbreak approaches through a Legacies of War programme of events next year.

The Tetley hosts a war memorial to brewery workers who served in both the First and Second World Wars, while a number of its dray horses were used in conflict.

She said: “For us to have so many, around 200, names on the war memorial and 25 that didn’t come back, it’s important that we research their history.”

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Emma Rushton and Derek Tyman’s ‘Fear of the Surplus’ invites speakers to debate notions of work. Until Feb 16.

Rehana Zaman’s ‘Bittermen’ residency is a short serialised satirical drama filmed to show the firm’s rise to prominence. To be shown July 2014.

Simon Lewandowski and Sam Belinfante’s ‘The Reversing Machine’ will show a kinetic installation reflecting on the way we live. From Jan 24 to Feb 28.

James Clarkson’s residency will see objects from the building’s past used to explore its history. Until Feb 16.


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